MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) — The Madison Police Citizens Advisory Committee held a community meeting Tuesday evening. The topic — what to do at a police stop.
The committee says its goal was to create an avenue for questions and provide accurate, useful information that the public can use going forward.
Representatives from the Madison Police Department’s (MPD) Traffic Unit say most confrontations happen at a traffic stop.
During the meeting, the officers showcased a mock demonstration of someone getting pulled over. They explained to everyone in the room what you should and shouldn’t do when this happens.
Police Chief Johnny Gandy says traffic congestions cause angry drivers — and angry drivers cause traffic violations.
Gandy says minor violations will likely result in a written or verbal warning, but a serious violation will result in a citation.
The chief says you have a right to state your case, but that is to be done in court — not on the side of the road.
“Police and the community should have regular conversations like this,” he explained. “If we can cut down on some of the misperceptions… and a lot of the times it becomes a perception issue.”
“Unfortunately with some people, perception is their reality,” Gandy continued. “If we can have a dialogue and explain some of those misconceptions they may have… the best thing we can do is solve it through communication rather than confrontation.”
The committee says this topic has been on their agenda since October 2022, and because of inclement weather and the holidays the meeting was canceled. The committee adds that it’s a “coincidence that this meeting aligns well with current events.”
Marc Highsmith, Madison Police Citizens Advisory Committee Chairman, says
“We’ve seen some horrific things in our country,” said Marc Highsmith, chairman of the Madison Police Citizens Advisory Committee. “The only way we can get through those is by communicating and talking through those things.”
“I think the meeting tonight was an opportunity for members of the community to have interaction with police officers. It was a great opportunity, great dialogue… and from that, that helps to break down that anxiety,” he added.
“We’re going to let people know what the expectation is of our officers when they’re walking up on a car or a traffic stop or any kind of stop in general when they investigate a stop,” said Gandy. “At the same time, we would like the public to know there are certain things we expect from them as well to ensure that a confrontation doesn’t happen.”
If you’d like to get in contact with the Madison Police Citizens Advisory Committee, visit their website.